Spiritual Moments in Black History
By Claudia Mair Burney
Africans arrived in America not as freedom-seeking immigrants, but as captives adapting to the harsh reality of chattel slavery. Because of their suffering, they drew together and drank from a deep well of spirituality that connected them to God, their ancestors, and one another. James Weldon Johnson’s "Negro National Anthem" testifies to the tenacity of the spirituality of African Americans, grounded in faith and hope and celebration:
“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.”
While by no means comprehensive, here are 12 highlights of the contributions African Americans have made to enrich the landscape of American spirituality.